“Lies-lies, damn lies and statistics”;
these are the words of Benjamin Disraeli. Were he not a Victorian era
British Politico, you would think he was referring to the latest campaign
being waged to raid our wallets.
Let’s start with the name: Community Preservation Act (CPA). What
exactly is it? Plain and simple it’s a nifty name for a tax increase.
More precisely it is a surcharge, or a TAX ON A TAX.
If you think your taxes are too low, if you think the Town can better
spend your hard earned money, there is no need to read any further. Just
vote yes and go about doing whatever it is you do in your ivory tower.
On the other hand if you have the ability to think critically, please
pay attention, as we are about to take a swing at the slick pitch being
served up by snake oil salesmen.
I’m holding a flyer trumpeting the cornucopia of “benefits” that
accompany the CPA. I’d like to spend a few moments translating
it for you.
promises: “Matching contribution by
the State ‘expected’ at
100% for ‘several’ years”. --Translation--
The State match is not guaranteed and there is no telling how long it
will last. Here is the way it really works. The State match comes from
a very limited stream of revenue. Every time property is sold, the Registry
of Deeds assesses a small fee which goes into a “Community Preservation
Trust fund”. “Depending on the amount available in
the fund, communities are eligible to receive matching funds
up to 100%.” Excuse me? We have to increase our own taxes in order
to MAYBE get some of this money back. Sounds like a scam you’d
see on the Soprano’s! And what happens when the Real Estate bubble
finally burst and this small stream of revenue dries up? We will be left
holding the bag -- that’s what happens! Not to mention, matching
funds and grants always come with strings attached. Just look at the
recycling center fiasco.
boasts: A “5-9 member community preservation committee
recommends projects to the Town Council”. --Translation-- Another
unelected and unaccountable committee will oversee a slush fund. Just
what we need, more agenda driven hacks diverting monies to pet projects.
Or worse, promoting ventures that will benefit firms with “connections” on
the CPA committee! The fine citizens of this storied Commonwealth are
all too familiar with “Authorities”, “Committees”,
and “Commissions”. We don’t need another pack of unelected
bureaucratic policy wonks deciding how to spend the taxpayers’ money.
touts “exemptions” for this group or that group.
--Translation-- They can’t get enough votes if they tax everyone
at once; so they play the class warfare/special interest group shell
game. But let the buyer beware! Like death, the taxman cometh to every
man’s door. Besides, the “exemptions” for the elderly
and low-income households are deceptive window dressing. Think about
it, many people with limited means rent apartments; they can’t
afford to buy homes. Tenants are not exempt from this surcharge. They
pay real estate taxes through their rent. One of the first clauses included
in a standard residential lease is the “Tax Escalator Clause”.
If the clause is not used, the rent will go up at renewal. When taxes
go up, rents go up. The bottom line is most tenants regardless of age,
income, military service, shape, or size will pay higher rents if the
on, the flyer says some of the CPA money will be used for “Affordable
Housing”. --Translation-- more publicly subsidized housing projects.
The proponents of CPA point to the high rents in Watertown. They say
people can’t afford to live here. Point taken, but increasing taxes
only compounds this problem for most people. Beyond that, I don’t
know too many people who dream of someday moving into public housing.
Most good folks living in the projects want to move out of them as soon
as possible. Moreover, where will they put this subsidized housing? Robbins
Road or say Oliver St? I think not, these districts have “Historic” houses
and “Open Space” to be preserved! No, the residents of densely
populated areas will have to bear the burden of even greater density,
while the plush neighborhoods are preserved. They have a name for this:
the proponents of CPA don’t mention that subsidized
housing must be made available to non-Watertown residents. This can only
mean one thing; a bigger drain on public services. That in turn will
lead to even higher real estate taxes. The end result will eventually
squeeze the middle class out of Watertown. We will be left with ivory-tower
leftwing elitists and those living in subsidized housing. Sounds like
fertile ground to create another People’s Republic!
this is real simple. If you think your taxes are high enough and you
can better spend your own money; do two things. First enlighten the
misguided candidates who support the CPA; we don’t
need another tax on a tax. Second, on November 8 th Vote against the
Community Plundering Act.
Watertown Citizens for Common Sense Government